Jaheim - Another Round (2010)

Jaheim
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Possessing a sonorous, sexy baritone that keeps the ladies happy and enough street swag to remain cool with the fellas, Jaheim Hoagland has made a successful career by melding the two and becoming a successful singer and songwriter, responsible for four back-to-back hit CDs that contain some of the last decade's most celebrated urban love anthems: "Could It Be," "Put That Woman First," Everytime I Think About Her" and "Never," to name a few. Some of his from-jump fans may cringe and think he's flipped it too hard to the conservative side since he's returned sans cornrows and rocking a clean silk ensemble on the cover this time around, but don't worry, Another Round demonstrates that he's simply polished and perfected his technique, not discarded it.

Possessing a sonorous, sexy baritone that keeps the ladies happy and enough street swag to remain cool with the fellas, Jaheim Hoagland has made a successful career by melding the two and becoming a successful singer and songwriter, responsible for four back-to-back hit CDs that contain some of the last decade's most celebrated urban love anthems: "Could It Be," "Put That Woman First," Everytime I Think About Her" and "Never," to name a few. Some of his from-jump fans may cringe and think he's flipped it too hard to the conservative side since he's returned sans cornrows and rocking a clean silk ensemble on the cover this time around, but don't worry, Another Round demonstrates that he's simply polished and perfected his technique, not discarded it.

Jaheim, who turns 32 later this year, is definitely letting his "70's baby" roots show while bringing more depth and dimension to the typical "boy-meets-girl" scenarios, starting with the irresistibly funky throwback "Ain't Leavin Without You," where he's too smitten to play it cool and post on the wall with a lovely lady in the midst. "Whoa" and the breathless, flute-filled "Her" also feature him in "sprung" mode, and he damn near induces cavities with the love-struck "Till It Happens To You," where he confesses to having been one of the non-believers until he experienced for himself the heavenly life and love scenarios he'd only dreamed of. "Otha Half" may come thisclose to getting his Playa Membership revoked, but it's a tender doo-wopping lament demonstrating how useless and out-of-sorts he feels when he's bereft of his lady love, even when she does the Chicago Two-Step on his last good nerve. 

Thanks to the narrative flow of the lyrics, the pristine production and the supple sweetness of his vocals (the silkiness of a Will Downing and the warmth of the late Teddy Pendergrass without the raw edges), even some of the lesser numbers here sound better than most of what passes for R&B on the scene today:  "Bed Is Listening," for example, is cute but a little gimmicky for its own good, even with its novel premise of telling a lady to pretend the bed can hear her grievances about his dirt and to keep it just between them: "the next time / you get the urge to pick up the phone / to let everybody know / that I know I did you wrong / let it wait / wait until I get home / so tell the bed your condition / the bed is listening / imagine for a minute / the bed is listening." And it's all good to celebrate impending fatherhood, even if "II Pink Lines" oversimplifies the concept.

Another Round goes down smooth and savory, and when you're getting the goodies, do you quibble that it's a Hershey bar and not a Godiva? Jaheim gets the job done and then some, which makes his fifth studio CD easily and enthusiastically recommended.

By Melody Charles  

 
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